Constructions contemporary norwegian arts & crafts

This exhibition of contemporary Norwegian arts and crafts is based on the concept of «construction» — in the sense of the way something is put together.

The term is used in many fields, including architecture, engineering, geometry, music and language. In the field of arts and crafts, «construction» is used to describe methods for both building three-dimensional forms and creating patterns in surfaces, or a fusion of these. There are many construction methods, ranging from work on a single object to the joining of different elements.

Materials as both object and surface

We can also talk of construction in connection with textile techniques, such as weaving, knitting, crochet, embroidery, appliqué and other forms of needlework. There is a direct link between construction and surface. The construction builds the surface, and the pattern is a logic consequence of the construction. There is an interconnection between pattern and form; form and ornament combine in an organic whole.

Ornament as repetition and addition

A pattern is basically a juxtaposition of individual elements that are repeated according to set systems. The addition of simple forms creates structures that can be static or flexible, organic or geometric, soft or hard. Basic, elementary shapes are a starting point for an infinite number of combinations of patterns, structures and forms. These basic shapes have been used in all ages and in all cultures, and the combinations created make a universal idiom or language.

Different approaches and methods

I have selected artists who approach construction in different ways, mainly in relation to wood and textiles. One thing they have in common is that they have developed their own, individual methods of construction to establish the formal, structural and organisational fundament for their particular visual expressions. Another common feature is that the visual, aesthetic and physical presence of their works gives these pieces a voice.

The exhibition features a variety of works, ranging from formal to conceptual expressions, some with strong traditional roots and others that are more experimental, but all with a basis in the traditions of arts and crafts.

Insoluble fusion

The theme «construction» was chosen to accentuate a particular intrinsic quality, where it is not possible to separate the technique used from the underlying idea or meaning. Content and expression are inextricably linked with technique and material. Art and craft become interwoven in an insoluble fusion between form and idea. The idea is in the form; the form is the bearer of the idea.

I have sought to highlight these particular qualities in this exhibition.

inger blix kvammen

I work in a geographical borderland in the far northeast of Norway, in a hybrid zone right by the borders to Russia and Finland. My work is inspired by the traditions of the borderland, where several ethnic groups and nationalities have lived together for generations. At the same time, there have been periods when people-to-people contact was impossible due to closed borders. The history and knowledge that has been handed down in the traditions and cultural meeting places of the area provide many impressions and inspire new, contemporary expressions.

My present artistic work is based on metal and textile techniques. I also mix different materials, I photograph, I collect and I document. I use silver, gold, copper and steel wire to produce textiles. In fact I use anything that is soft enough to crochet, knit, weave, twine or plait to form jewellery, sculptures or installations. Some works are a commentary on life here. I have three works in the exhibition, all pieces of jewellery, which are based on crochet techniques and are mainly produced in silver wire.

Inger Blix Kvammen (born in 1954) lives and works in Kirkenes in Finnmark. She has no formal art training, but her work has attracted widespread attention, both in Norway and abroad. Her first international exhibition was in Electrum Gallery, London in 1995, and she has since taken part in other exhibitions at this gallery. She has had a total of nine solo exhibitions, including an exhibition in San Francisco, and her most recent solo show was at the Sami Art Centre in Karasjok in 2007. Inger Blix Kvammen has also taken part in a number of collective exhibitions in the US, the UK, Germany and Sweden. Her work has been purchased by the Sami Parliament in Karasjok, the Art Museum of Northern Norway and the Arts Council Norway. She has also been commissioned to provide work for the Finnmark Library in Vadsø.

ArtworksTundra ArchivesEriste ArchivesThe Other Side
TextsTexts on ImagesArticles and ReviewsAboutCVContacts & Links